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Essential Rigging Safety Rules and Lifting Tips

Fatal accidents and injuries on construction sites and workplaces have cost the USA approximately 5 billion dollars in healthcare, loss of income, and poor quality of life. And according to OSHA, the most common causes of death, dubbed the “Fatal Four,” are high falls, getting struck by equipment, getting trapped or caught between large items, and electrocution.

Southeast Rigging has consistently emphasized how crucial safe rigging practices are to our clients’ industrial sites. For this reason, we aim to educate both clients and potential customers on proper rigging procedures that are both safe and efficient. 

Best Practices in Rigging and Lifting

Determine the weight of the load to be lifted

Everyone involved in the operation, from the crane operator to the workers placing or receiving the load, should know how heavy the load will be. Knowing the weight is crucial as it allows everyone to be aware of the necessary precaution to take when rigging up the load. It determines how much wire rope rigging to use and which method will ensure that the load remains steady during the lifting process.

Furthermore, it ensures that the load is within the machine’s capability to lift. Too light a load makes the operation inefficient. However, if it’s too heavy, it can be too much for the machine and result in an accident. Either the ropes or wiring may break under the weight, or the machine itself cannot compensate for balance and tip over.

Never go under a suspended load

For example, a crane is lifting a piece of oversized equipment or an inordinately large load of material. At no point should anyone be walking beneath it for any reason. This will reduce the risk of anyone getting hurt, trapped, or pinned should the untoward happen and the load is dropped or falls.

This is considered one of the most basic practices in safe rigging. No one should walk, work, or even pass underneath a suspended load for as long as it is off the ground. 

Do not leave suspended loads unattended

On occasion, a load which has already been lifted may need to be held in a suspended position for a few moments. However, while the load is off the ground, it should not be unsupervised. Someone must always be operating the equipment or crane, and someone should be watching over it as it is briefly raised. The load must remain observed until it is lowered to the correct location.

The designated spotter must always be vigilant of the load and prevent anyone from walking under or working beneath it. This also ensures that should anything untoward happen, such as a cord or wire snapping, someone is aware of what is going on and can sound the alarm to alert others.

Never lift people

It has been known to happen in some construction and industrial sites—a worker jumps onto a load to be lifted along with the material or the equipment. Workers might do it for amusement or to be able to go to higher levels much more quickly than if they rode an elevator.

But as far as safe lifting precautions and practices go, there is never a justified instance when a crane or other lifting machinery should lift a human. There is a very high risk of slipping and falling, with no fall protection equipment or procedures. A crane or a lift is not an improvised work platform. Never lift any load with a human on top of it, and never permit anyone to go up with a load, even if it’s to ensure that the load is stead.steady

Ensure that the load is balanced

Some workers may climb aboard the lift or the platform to ensure a delicate piece of equipment remains steady and balanced. But it’s crucial to ensure the load is balanced without this form of support. Whether it’s adjusting the wire rope rigging, the angle of the lift, or the path, a secure load should not need a human to hold onto it.

Check the harnesses, rope, tethers, and hitch usage. There is a proper hitch for every load. The three most common hitches are the vertical, choker, and basket hitch. Each of them is designed to support the load and is crucial to maintaining its balance.

Most importantly, determine the position and balance of the weight. Lift it a few feet off the ground and check how level it is, whether or not it will start to tilt if moved, and if the hitch is appropriate. Once you’re confident that the load is balanced and secure, lift it to the right level.

Use Reliable, Quality Equipment

Professional-grade lifting wire, chains, cables, and extremely strong heavy-duty assemblies enable you to feel more secure about the lifts. You can put your trust in a high-performance piece of equipment and not feel concerned that it will abruptly break. Using reliable equipment ensures the safety of everyone on the job site.

Southeast Rigging doesn’t just provide the heavy-duty and high-performance lifting and rigging equipment that a company needs. We also offer training and services that ensure everyone onsite remains safe and knowledgeable about rigging procedures. Contact us today to set up an appointment.

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